IN THE LEDGE – When will rights of victims be put ahead of the offenders?
Excerpt from debate in the B.C. Legislature on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.
P. Milobar: Under this soft-on-crime Premier, crime and disorder in neighbourhoods, business districts and on transit has never been worse, and it’s completely out of control. This all began with his time as the Attorney General, where we saw a 75 percent increase in no charge assessments, and worse, a 40 percent decrease in the numbers of people in jail.
Just yesterday, this is what a chief of police had to say about this Premier’s failed catch-and-release justice system. He said, “We’ve lost sight of the victims. I don’t know if we’d even call it a justice system any more.” That’s a chief of police acknowledging that he feels we do not have a justice system any more in this province under this Premier’s watch.
When will the Premier finally put the rights of victims and people to be safe ahead of those who continue to reoffend on a daily basis?
Hon. N. Sharma: I want to thank the member for the question.
Everybody deserves to feel safe in their communities. We as a government have been taking action on many levels to address the situation that’s happening in communities. For my part, as Attorney General, the justice system. We have been advocating for the federal government to make changes to the bail policy.
Cities across this country have been seeing a rise in repeat violent offenders. Through our leadership and advocacy, we received a commitment from the federal government to make those changes, and as Attorney General, I’m monitoring that.
We’re also taking action in terms of investing in the supports and the services needed in our justice system to help address this issue. Recently, we announced 12 hubs for the repeat violent offender intervention initiative across this province to address the repeat violent offenders and their impacts on communities. We’ll continue to do the work necessary to increase safety and communities.
Mr. Speaker: Member, supplemental.
P. Milobar: Frankly, none of that’s working. People don’t feel safer in their neighbourhoods, and empty words and promises by this Premier and this government are not making the situation better. By every measure, it’s worse than it’s ever been.
People feel unsafe everywhere in this province: urban centres, rural centres, in suburbs, you name it. They’re tired of the robotic responses from this government and the lack of accountability from this soft-on-crime Premier when it comes to assaults and violence and the threatening of people every single day.
The simple fact is not only is this soft-on-crime Premier the architect of the catch-and-release policies, he literally wrote the book on how to sue the police. Given this Premier’s past, it’s not surprising that during his time as Attorney general, we saw that 75 percent increase in no charge assessments and a 40 percent reduction in those jail populations. That’s led to what we saw yesterday, a chief of police saying that we don’t have a justice system in this province anymore, aligning with what the public is saying.
The only people that seem to think things are getting better on our streets are the members of the government. Everyone else outside of this chamber knows the fear they’re living with on a daily basis. When will this premier end his catch-an- release policies and prioritize the families of this province over the prolific offenders?
Hon. N. Sharma: Thanks for the question. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their communities and we as a government are taking action on many levels.
This, unfortunately, is happening across the country in countries and provinces. And we were happy to join with ministers from across the country and Premiers from across this country, calling on the government for specific reforms to the bail policy in order to address repeat violent offenders.
But we’re not stopping there. I’m working with my colleagues across this government to invest in the programs and services needed to address this challenge. We’re meeting with communities.
We’re understanding issues on the ground and responding. We announced the largest increase in funding to police officers across this country. We announced one of the largest calls to Crown counsel under my ministry to help support the work that needs to be done.
We’ll continue to invest in the resources and the programs that are needed to make the situation better.
Source: B.C. Hansard
Yes, Peter, your words remind me of the period when you were Mayor and you were asked for help with folks around here being victimized. You and your administration did nothing.
As time went by, material was being flushed onto the street, as regular as clockwork; every watering day. It became fair game to have water tests done and analyzed. Forensic science at its best.
One day will be the right day for all those records to be made public.